Tech education dept spent crores on free software

Mar 19, 2013, 01:52 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

State technical education department has spent Rs 50 crore on software that is either available for free or at nominal costs in the open market

The state technical education department is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to providing students a wholesome education. And with that aim in mind, officials are spending crores on software that will help students in their education. But for those who think that’s a good step, think again. According to sources, the software they are purchasing at exorbitant prices are available at nominal prices or in some cases, at no cost at all.

Uneconomical: Some of the software that the education department purchased for a huge sum was made available free of cost by the AICTE on its website. Representation Pic

Sources say that the department officials have made purchases worth Rs 50 crore for software, which were available at nominal prices. A source added that the department intended on spending an additional Rs 20 or Rs 30 crore on other purchases.  Elaborating further the source said that software like Corel Draw was purchased for Rs 3.35 lakh when it is available for Rs 35,400. Another software by the name of LabVIEW was purchased for Rs 9.43 lakh (15 users) whereas in the open market the software is sold for Rs 5.66 lakh for 25 users. 

Similarly, software Multisim was purchased for Rs 6.76 lakh (10 users), whereas in the open market it is sold for Rs 3.47 lakh (25 users). Altiboard was purchased for Rs 7.84 lakh whereas it is available for Rs 2.06 lakh.  Multiboard and Altisim combine package was purchased for Rs 14.60 lakh (for 10 users), which is available for Rs 6.02 lakh (for 25 users). It was also revealed that some of the software was made available free of cost by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on its website. 

But officials ignored the AICTE initiative, and went ahead and purchased the software at exorbitant prices. When MiD DAY approached the authorities, a senior official from the directorate of the state education department said the specially appointed committees made the purchases as per the demands made by the controlled institutes.  

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